WESTERN Bulldogs vice-captain Lachie Hunter was driven by teammate Bailey Smith from the scene of a drink-driving incident where he is alleged to have hit four parked cars on Thursday evening.
Hunter, who later blew 0.123, was taken by the second-year midfielder to teammate Billy Gowers’ house in South Yarra after the incident in Middle Park around 8.45pm.
Police arrived at the scene of the crash in Wright Street to find Hunter’s damaged SUV with the star midfielder nowhere to be seen.
He was later located at a South Yarra address – now confirmed as Gowers’ property – and given a preliminary breath test. A subsequent evidentiary breath test recorded a reading more than two times the legal blood alcohol limit.
Hunter’s car, along with two of the four cars he is alleged to have hit, was towed from the scene.
It is believed one of the cars hit by Hunter belonged to the parents of Smith’s girlfriend which became known at the time of exchanging contact details.
Alcohol was found on the front seat of Hunter’s car.
On Friday morning he was set to be charged on summons.
The 25-year-old’s licence was suspended for 12 months, while he was also hit with a $1652 penalty notice for breaching strict social distancing directions in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Police confirmed two men were being investigated.
“Two other men, known to the driver involved, may be fined for breaching the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer,” the statement on Friday afternoon said.
“The matter of their involvement with the driver following the collision is being looked into.”
It was later confirmed Smith received a $1652 penalty, while Gowers received a warning.
The AFL Integrity Unit is also investigating the incident.
After departing Gowers’ house, it is understood Hunter then went to his sister’s property for the rest of the evening.
Hunter and Gowers are close friends and last year travelled in the off-season together.
The Dogs were scrambling for information of the incident when they were called on Friday morning.
“I can confirm there was an incident with one of our players,” Dogs president Peter Gordon told AFL.com.au.
“We’re in the process of investigating what happened and we’ll say something more when we know something more about it.”
Earlier in the night, around 7pm AEST, Hunter posted a photo on social media with a group of friends in a ‘Zoom’ video teleconferencing call. He appeared to be alone in the image.
Police provided AFL.com.au with a statement in the early hours of Friday morning.
“Prahran Highway Patrol were called to Middle Park Thursday evening following reports a car had crashed into a number of parked cars,” the statement read.
“The crash occurred on Wright Street where it’s believed a Toyota SUV crashed into four unoccupied parked cars about 8.45pm.
“When police arrived, it was found the driver had left the scene.
“Attending police made follow up enquiries and located the 25-year-old driver at an address in South Yarra.
The Middle Park man was given a preliminary breath test and a subsequent evidentiary breath test, where he furnished a reading of 0.123
“The man’s licence was immediately suspended for 12 months and it is expected will be charged on summons with drink driving and other traffic matters.
“Whilst committing the offences the man was found to be in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer, and he was issued a $1652 penalty notice.
“The directions by the Chief Health Officer, under the State of Emergency declared in Victoria, have been enacted to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”
Having served in the Dogs’ leadership group since 2018, Hunter was elevated to vice-captain in December under new skipper Marcus Bontempelli.
In March last year Hunter signed a five-year extension to remain with the Dogs until the end of 2024.
Hunter’s manager was contacted for comment.